The sun came out just in time as students made their way to this year’s Spring Fling on Wednesday April 23, sponsored by the Healthy Outreach through Peer Education (HOPE) organization on campus. HOPE provides important health-related information to college students on a variety of issues including underage and dangerous drinking, safer sex practices, stress management, prevention of sexually transmitted infections, and healthy living. Spring fling is a way for students to attend an event that promotes healthy and safe choices as the year comes to a close.
Suzanne Dulak, a 20-year-old sophomore and resort, recreation and hospitality management major and HOPE Peer Educator, said that the event, spanning from Watson Hall to Building A, was a way to get students involved in doing something fun.
“Spring Fling is basically an event to provide students on campus with a ‘street fair’ type of event, where free food, tie-dying, face painting, was provided, along with music by WSRU,” Dulak said. “There were also two performances by the SRU Illusions team and Jam Rock.”
Dulak said that despite the cold weather, that the staff was hopeful for a great turnout.
“This is our second year doing the event and last year we had a great turnout,” Dulak said. “Last year we only expected 200 students to come to the event and 500 ended up coming.”
Renee Bateman, the Coordinator for Health Promotion at the Student Health Center and an inactive administrative figure for HOPE talked about how much work went into planning an event such as Spring Fling.
“A lot of work goes into planning an event like this,” Bateman said. “It takes a lot of sponsoring and outreach to different organizations and departments on campus. Back in the fall we had the event marked on our calendars, and we had the date picked out for over a year. We’ve spent the last two months planning for the event.”
Bateman also explained the reason that HOPE has put on the event for the second year in a row.
“The event’s purpose is a safe, fun activity for students,” Bateman said. “It’s also to celebrate the end of the academic year and to try to reduce risky behavior that comes with this stressful time of year. Even though the event isn’t going all night, it can still provide students with a safe and fun outlet.”
HOPE Peer Educator Nicholas Jones, a 21-year-old senior public health major, was one of the driving forces that helped promote the event. Jones explained what his specific role was in helping put the event together.
“Each of us play equal roles as HOPE Peer Educators,” Jones said. “I feel as though I’m the glue this year. I helped bring ideas together, and also helped with outreach to make the event cohesive. I really enjoyed reaching out to the Association of Residence Hall Students (ARHS) this year and promoting the co-sponsorship. ARHS was one of the largest groups we got to help us sponsor this year so that was great. I really wanted to be the optimistic person that supported us with the network.”
Jones, like Bateman, also said that the event was a great alternative for students to do something other than being pressured into going out and drinking or participating in other unsafe habits, and help provide students with a healthy substitute.
Jones also said that he felt the event is a good time to connect with people especially at the end of the year when we are all stressed.
“I think it’s important while we are here as students to take time to focus on ourselves and having fun in a safe way,” Jones said. “I think it’s important for all of us to know that we are only human and that we’re stretched in so many different ways at school and I think we’re all neglecting to have fun and to give time to other people.”